Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday launched the ‘Ehsaas Riyayat Ration Scheme’ aimed at providing a monthly subsidy of 30 per cent on items of daily use to at least 20 million households across Pakistan.
Speaking about the scheme at a ceremony in Islamabad, the premier said the project was aimed at reducing the burden of inflation on lower-income households as at least 20 million deserving families will be provided with a monthly subsidy on the purchase of wheat flour, pulses, and cooking oil.
Imran said inflation was an international phenomenon, adding that Pakistan, however, still “ranked among one of the cheapest countries in the world”. According to the PM, the prices of petrol and diesel in Pakistan were lower compared to Dubai and other countries of the sub-continent.
The premier expressed satisfaction that Ehsaas provided financial assistance to deserving people during the Covid-19 pandemic, which was “acknowledged internationally”.
According to the premier, 98 per cent of the financial assistance under the Ehsaas programme was disbursed among needy women in order to economically empower them. He said the stipend and scholarships being provided under Ehsaas were also higher for girls than the boys.
The prime minister said the country could not prosper unless resources were invested for the uplift of women, particularly their education and health.
He also urged the public to pay taxes and vowed that all such money would be spent on their welfare and development and mentioned that recently the government announced a subsidy on petrol and diesel to provide relief to consumers because of an increase in tax revenue.
Imran said the government’s national health insurance programme was a major step towards facilitating the common people in getting free medical treatment up to one million rupees.
Imran Khan added that a network of Ehsaas Nashonuma projects will be spread to the district level in order to address the issue of stunted children.
The premier said that families across all provinces, except Sindh, will get health cards by the end of March. “The health cards will be distributed in provinces where PTI is in power,” he said.
PM’s Special Assistant on Social Welfare Senator Sania Nishtar said the Ehsaas programme had completed its three successful years in “line with the principles of transparency”.
Nishtar said the first phase of registration for the Ehsaas Riyayat Ration Scheme has been completed and messages are being sent to 9.2 million deserving families in a phased manner to avail the targeted subsidy through four thousand utility stores.
She said the registration of retail stores is also continuing so that the deserving families could avail the targeted subsidy through them. She further mentioned that under the Ehsaas Kafalat scheme, the distribution of Rs71 billion of cash assistance would also be initiated.